BROWSER MAKER Mozilla has announced support for decentralised internet protocols starting with Firefox 59.
Firefox 59, which is scheduled for release in March, will include extensions for the DAT, IPFS and Secure Scuttlebutt peer-to-peer protocols, marking a new step in Mozilla's support for alternatives to the internet's prevailing client-server model.
Last year the company together with the US National Science Foundation offered a prize of $2m for the most promising project aimed at decentralising the web.
DAT, IPFS and Secure Scuttlebutt are software protocols and enhancements to the internet infrastructure that allow peer-to-peer networks to offer some of the functionality of the current client-server based web such as file transfer and web browsing, but with enhanced privacy, security and resistance to censorship and moves to restrict net neutrality.
A 'redecentralised web', a concept supported by the 'Father of the Web' Sir Tim Berners-Lee among others, would also offer the possibility that data need never be deleted.
Most projects aimed at decentralising the web are still at an early stage, so this move by Mozilla can be seen as taking the field one step further into the mainstream.
Other innovations to come with Firefox 59, according to Mozilla's blog, includes an API that allows tabs not currently being used to be hidden from the interface. The webRequest API is improved and now merges multiple headers with the same name rather than using only the last one, and registering content scripts in now possible at runtime, a change that Mozilla describes as "an important feature for extensions that want to support user scripting."
With Firefox 57, the venerable browser underwent a complete overhaul, with the old Gecko engine being replaced by the Quantum CSS rendering engine. This move increased the rendering speed and took advantage of multicore processors to make it twice as fast as previous Firefox versions and "often faster than Chrome, while consuming roughly 30 per cent less RAM", according to Mozilla.
Released last week, Version 58 brought Quantum to Firefox Android. µ
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